Sheila Scott: The British Aviator Who Broke Over 100 Records
Sheila Scott was a remarkable woman who achieved many feats in the field of aviation. She was the first British pilot to fly solo around the world, and she set more than 100 light-aircraft records between 1965 and 1972. She also flew over the North Pole, across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and from the Equator to the Equator. In this article, we will explore her life, career, and legacy.
Sheila Scott was born Sheila Christine Hopkins on April 27, 1922, in Worcester, England. She had a turbulent childhood and did not do well at school. During World War II, she joined the services as a nurse in a naval hospital, where she tended the wounded. After the war, she moved to London and pursued a career as an actress and model, using the stage name Sheila Scott. She appeared in small roles for theatre, film, and television.
In 1958, she learned to fly at Thruxton Aerodrome and soon bought her own biplane from the Royal Air Force. She won several races and trophies in her first year of flying. To pay for her flying expenses, she became a demonstrator for Cessna and Piper aircraft.
In 1966, she bought a Piper Comanche 260B named Myth Too, which became her most famous aircraft. She used it to fly solo around the world for the first time, covering about 31,000 miles in 189 flying hours. She set world records for flying between London and Cape Town, across the North Atlantic and South Atlantic oceans, and from the Equator to the Equator over the North Pole. She also became the first person to fly over the North Pole in a small aircraft.
In 1971, she bought a twin-engined Piper Aztec named Mythre, which she used to complete her third solo round-the-world flight. She also set more records for flying over Africa, Australia, Japan, and Alaska. She wrote two books about her experiences: I Must Fly (1968) and On Top of the World (1973).
Honours and Awards
Sheila Scott was widely recognized for her achievements and contributions to aviation. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1968. She received the Royal Aero Club’s Gold Medal in 1972. She was also the founder and the first governor of the British branch of the Ninety-Nines, an association for licensed women pilots created by Amelia Earhart. She was a member of the International Association of Licensed Women Pilots and of the Whirly-Girls, an association of women helicopter pilots.
Death and Legacy
Sheila Scott died of cancer on October 20, 1988, in London. She was 66 years old. She is remembered as one of the most influential and inspiring women pilots of all time. Her aircraft Myth Too is on display at the National Museum of Flight in Scotland. One of the teaching buildings at the University of Worcester is named after her.
Sheila Scott was a pioneer who pushed the boundaries of what was possible for women in aviation. She showed courage, determination, and passion in pursuing her dreams. She left behind a legacy of records, achievements, and inspiration for future generations of aviators.